MOLES AND YOUR SKIN
KNOW WHAT TO WATCH FOR AND WHEN
Moles are melanin-producing growths that occur on the bottom layer of your skin's epidermis. They are typically brown or black and can appear anywhere on your body, alone or in clusters. Smaller than a pencil eraser, moles are round and symmetrical with smooth borders and an even color. However, moles can change in size, shape, color or even feel. Often appearing as moles, certain skin cancers like melanoma can have black or blue-black centers and are abnormal or have a uniquely different appearance compared to other moles. When abnormalities begin to occur, this is when you should seek out a dermatologist in Seattle & Kirkland areas.
Detecting Pre-Cancerous Moles
The vast majority of moles are not dangerous. The moles that you should be concerned about are the ones that look different than others already existing on your body or ones that appear after the age of 30. There is a common rule of thumb to remember to help you detect early signs of skin cancer known as the “ABCDE” method for moles.
- Asymmetry: one side does not match the other
- Border: the edges are irregular
- Color: uneven tone in shades of black, blue or tan
- Diameter: an increase in size
- Evolving: dramatic change as seen within a week or month
There are several proactive measures you can take toward skin care that will help in the prevention of abnormal mole growth and skin cancer. To prevent benign moles from becoming abnormal and possibly cancerous:
- Avoid too much time in the sun
- Protect your skin by wearing a shirt, pants, wide brim hat, and sunglasses
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or above
Even after you have fully healed from skin cancer surgery, protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays will help prevent future development of skin cancer.
Signs of Change
If you see any signs of change in an existing or new mole, you may need to schedule a consultation with a qualified physician. Contact our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Voss, at Northwest Face & Body to schedule your consultation today.
Moles and Melanoma Detection
In general, normal moles have smooth, distinct edges with just one uniform color throughout. Abnormal moles and melanoma tend to have blurry and/or indistinct edges with color variation throughout the mole itself. We grow new moles until around the age of 35. After the age of 35, new moles are considered suspicious and should be checked. Remember that melanoma can occur even where the sun does not shine, so check everywhere to ensure your health and safety. Please contact NW Face & Body for more details about mole removals in the Seattle, Bellevue and Kirkland areas.